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Rams unleash sound and fury of Jackson
By Bryan Burwell
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Monday, Nov. 27 2006
Only from ground zero can you fully understand the total impact of Steven
From some fancy luxury box, or from one of those distant upper-deck seats
scraping the roof of the Edward Jones Dome — with the concessionaires barking,
the bedlam of 65,000 folks screaming, with canned music blaring out of the
stadium speakers and a plate full of cheesy nachos dripping off your lap —
Jackson's impact looks so much different.
He looks smooth. He looks elusive. He actually looks kind of cool, too, with
the clear spaceman face shield and those long dreadlocks flapping in the wind
as he glides into the end zone and does that little homage to Las Vegas,
rolling the leather football like a set of tumbling ivory dice.
But down here on the sidelines, mere footsteps from the tangible violence of an
NFL football game, you can actually feel Jackson running the ball like some
menacing thunderstorm on the horizon.
Down here at ground zero, there is nothing smooth or cool about this man on the
"You always know exactly where he is," Rams guard Adam Timmerman said in the
Rams' locker room after Sunday's 20-17 victory over the San Francisco *****.
"You always know where he is because there is some impact when he runs by."
Marshall Faulk was a smooth and rhythmic little dancer, a crafty space seeker
and master of the evasive maneuver. Steven Jackson is a furious, violent,
head-on collision waiting to happen. Up close and personal, you see this
6-foot-2, 230-pound slam dancer rumbling out of the backfield, pounding toward
the sideline with the ball tucked under his arm, and you suddenly realize he's
really not trying to elude much of anything or anybody.
"Even if you don't get your best block, he will take care of some guys by
running them over," said rookie guard Mark Setterstrom, who unleashed a
devastating block that sprung Jackson on a 36-yard touchdown gallop in the
Sunday afternoon inside the Dome, Jackson's impact was stated loud and clear
for anyone smart enough to observe. With 23 carries for 121 yards on the ground
and nine catches for 71 yards, Jackson reminded us once again how simple this
game can be. The Train is officially the focus of the Rams' offense again, and
that's precisely the style that works best for the 5-6 Rams, who are officially
out of their losing funk — and let the record show, in spite of themselves,
miraculously still alive in the NFC wild card hunt.
The Rams need to stick with this successful formula of the early season, when
they were quite satisfied winning games with a physical offensive style that
favored the run first and a bend-but-don't-break defense that gave up yardage
in bunches but found opportune ways to keep teams out of the end zone.
So let's give a little thumbs-up to the embattled Scott Linehan, who showed
that rare quality you want to see in a rookie head coach: a willingness to
learn from mistakes.
What Linehan did Sunday showed me something. He didn't hide behind the foolish
arrogance of a stubborn "genius" in love with his own playbook. He didn't
decide that he was going to show us all that he really could fling the ball all
over the place, get his quarterback nearly decapitated (or get his lungs
collapsed), and still find a way to win the game HIS way.
Instead, he did something you'd never see Mike Martz do in a million years. He
handed the play-calling reins over to offensive coordinator Greg Olson, spent
the game acting like a true NFL CEO, overseeing the total ballgame, and allowed
Olson to utilize Jackson precisely the way he should.
And then Linehan had the self-effacing style to make sure everyone knew it was
Olson who was the man behind the curtain calling all the plays.
Down here at ground zero, you need to know things are going well for Jackson
because he's not smiling. He's snarling. He's stalking around with the passion
of a seething madman. The more he got the ball, the more he salivated for more
work, more opportunity to continue his rapid development as one of the most
dangerous all-around running backs in football.
By halftime, he had 17 carries for 103 yards and the Rams led 13-7. And even
after forgetting about him momentarily in the third quarter, when it mattered
most on the 80-yard, 12-play drive that gave the Rams the lead with less than
30 seconds remaining, Olson made sure Jackson was a beast of burden.
This time, there were no wild and crazy pass plays to a rookie tight end, or a
well-designed dump-off to a journeyman fullback. It was straight-up muscle —
good, old-fashioned, smash-mouth football.
"We can do that every week," said starting center Richie Incognito. "That's the
mentality we need to have. 'We're gonna run. Let's see if you can stop us.' I
love that stuff, man."
So do we, Richie. So do we.
Re: Rams unleash sound and fury of Jackson
""We can do that every week," said starting center Richie Incognito. "That's the mentality we need to have. 'We're gonna run. Let's see if you can stop us.' I love that stuff, man."
So do we, Richie. So do we."
Yes we do. Very very much. Great article.
Re: Rams unleash sound and fury of Jackson
The Cog is a nasty player, this pounding run game is very much his style. Its good to have someone on the OL with his attitude. Maybe he can get Setterstrom into his mindset and we can have a real nasty interior line to go with a set of very very good tackles.
The only problem is that he has to make sure he doesnt go to far and give away penalties